Major nor’easter for Tuesday will bring blizzard conditions

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Pinpoint Weather Team meteorologists are tracking a major nor’easter snowstorm Monday night through Tuesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning, starting Monday night, for all of Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts. Snow, wind, and poor visibility will create dangerous if not impassible travel conditions. The National Weather Service in Taunton said it has the potential to be a “historic” storm.

Snow is expected to begin around 1 p.m. with bands of heavier snow beginning to move in after 9 p.m. and blizzard like conditions after midnight.  Snowfall rates of 2-4″ per hour are possible making travel dangerous if not impossible.  Thundersnow is also possible, which can increase snowfall.

Winds from the northeast will hold steady at 20-30 mph, with gusts reaching up to 60 mph.

Based on the current models, Southern New England is expected to see between 15 and 30 inches of snow accumulation, with some isolated higher amounts. Hazard types include heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions with considerable blowing and drifting snow, according to the weather service.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said state officials were preparing to deal with the storm.

“I urge all Rhode Islanders to also take the steps necessary now, ahead of the storm, to be prepared,” Raimondo said in a statement. “This includes making sure to have sufficient food, water, and fuel for the next few days.”

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza ordered a citywide parking ban starting at 7 p.m. Monday, making the capital one of a number of communities to already take that step. The Providence Emergency Management Agency will activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center at noon Monday, the mayor’s office said.

“As the city prepares to respond to this storm, I ask residents to comply with the parking ban and limit travel so that crews can plow,” Elorza said in a statement. “We are ready for this storm and we will be working around the clock to make sure that our city is safe and business returns to normal as soon as possible.”

The timing is that the worst of the storm will be Monday night through Tuesday afternoon.

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Impacts include heavy snow and strong winds that will result in the potential for blizzard conditions with near zero visibility.  Along the southeast New England coast the snow may be wet enough to result in some downed tree limbs and power outages. Travel may become impossible and could become life threatening across the entire region. Winds are expected to be from the north at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph with temperatures in the low 20s. This has the potential to be a historic storm according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.  Some cities and towns have already issued parking bans and some closings. Residents should plan to keep their cars off the streets to allow for plows to properly clear the roadways through Wednesday.

Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca, warns this storm presents a high possibility of widespread power outages and reminds people to make sure all of your internet connected and mobile devices are kept fully charged while power is on, so that when power is out you have them for use for communication in emergencies and also to get the vital weather updates and information from WPRI.com, WPRI 12’s Eyewitness News app, and the new WPRI Pinpoint Weather app.

Middletown has already issued a parking ban starting at 6 p.m. on Monday through 6 a.m. on Wednesday due to the expected blizzard.

Public works crews in communities around the region are gearing up to deal with the the large impending storm, including Woonsocket – who will have some new equipment out on the roadways. Steven D’Agostino of the Woonsocket DPW said the city has replaced some of the old trucks with new ones that have automatic transmissions and larger capacity to hold more salt and sand.

Safety Tips: Winter Weather Resource Guide >>
Safety Tips: Winter Weather Resource Guide >>

Tune in to Eyewitness News on WPRI 12 for the latest updates.

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